21 March 2019

Connecting archaeological associations in Europe

The annual session of the EAA ‘Professional Associations Community’ has tended to focus on the work of organisations such as DGUF and CIfA, and progress being made in similar vein elsewhere. Whilst this is excellent and necessary, it became clear at the 2018 EAA meeting that this approach risked ignoring a huge and valuable range of other organisations that – although they were not national or regional state heritage agencies, private companies or professional associations – nevertheless made an essential contribution to archaeological work.

These sorts of organisations may be very specific in their focus – a particular town or region, a specific period, or a certain specialist interest. Many of these organisations have a very wide range of individual members, and there is a degree of overlap in membership. In some cases these associations or organisations are open to non-archaeological members too.

However, there is considerable duplication of effort, and not all archaeological organisations are communicating effectively with each other. This is perhaps most apparent in the efforts by archaeologists to interact with, and to influence, a wider socio-political agenda. Archaeology does not exist in a vacuum, it is a public endeavour which exists in the public realm. It is governed and influenced by political decision-making but has not always been able to vocalise its concerns. Thus, it is not possible to send unified, consistent messages to wider society unless the sector knows who all of its constituent voices are. Therefore, the first step is to know who represents individual archaeologists and then open a discussion and dialogue between them.

Therefore a small group – including Frank Siegmund and Diane Scherzler of DGUF, Gerry Wait of Triskelion Heritage and myself partly as a representative of CIfA – have begun to try and overcome these issues by setting up a project for ‘connecting the archaeological associations of Europe’. 

The first stage of this project is to collect data by questionnaire, which can be found on this page:

More information about the thinking behind the project can be found in a paper by Gerry and I, which is linked from this page:

Further updates will appear from time to time as data comes in and the project develops.

No comments: